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Khmer Rouge Victims’ Testimonies Continue at Tribunal

Chhim Sotheara, director of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization.
PHNOM PENH - A mental health expert told the Khmer Rouge tribunal on Wednesday that most victims of the regime suffer from mental problems that range from post traumatic stress disorder to depression and nightmares.

Chhim Sotheara, director of the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization, told the UN-backed court that though many victims appear “normal,” but when questioned closely about the Khmer Rouge, signs of mental health issues emerge.

“They have too many bad dreams,” he said. “Some have diseases like post traumatic stress disorder, trauma, broken courage, depression,” he said. The trauma of the Khmer Rouge period can create everyday challenges, he said, requiring time and support to alleviate.

Chhim Sotheara’s testimony comes amid participation in court proceedings by a number of victims of the Khmer Rouge, who filed complaints as civil parties.

Among them was Bay Sophany, a victim of the regime, who testified against senior regime leaders Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, who are on trial for atrocity crimes, including genocide.

In an interview with VOA Khmer, Bay Sophany, now 67, said she has lived a life filled with bad memories from the Khmer Rouge period, during which she lost her parents and her childrene.

“I lost my three children to the cruel conditions of forced labor camps under the Khmer Rouge,” she said. She was now looking for justice, she said.